When it comes to gaming, what Valve boss Gabe Newell says normally goes. The Steam mogul and Valve founder has attained nearly legendary status in the gaming and business worlds, so when his opinion is backed up by an exec from HTC, the two probably are onto something. The opinion in this case, of course, is that exclusives are bad for the virtual reality scene. The head honcho of content for Oculus, Jason Rubin, doesn't see things quite so black and white on the matter. According to Rubin, the temporary exclusive deals that Oculus has going with developers in the VR space will help to bolster both their platform and the VR scene in general.
In an interview with, Gamesindustry.biz, Rubin is quick to add a disclaimer, that he, like everybody else, does not think that permanent, console-style exclusives are a good thing. He went on to say that temporary exclusives for Oculus come in exchange for funding on ideas that may otherwise stay on the cutting room floor. By letting creators get their ideas out there, rather than having them remain only in the realm of thought, Oculus is helping VR development in general, helping the scene to flourish and acquire a wealth of content of all sorts. The exclusives, of course, are strictly temporary. While those who want the new game or app on day one will have to buy an Oculus Rift to get their wish, owners of other VR systems are not completely deprived of the content; they simply have to wait a while. The arrangement fulfills the purpose of the console-style exclusive, being to sell Oculus Rift units and generate brand loyalty, without locking other users out of content they would otherwise find compelling.
With VR being in its infancy, Rubin says that, in essence, the scene will grow in much the same way that the PC scene has, but much quicker. PC gaming had very humble beginnings, with a given game normally being lucky to make a few hundred sales, and grew slowly over time. As more people funded game studios by buying games, these studios made better games and impressed the populace to the point of convincing them to buy PCs to play these games, providing a bigger audience for the next wave of games. The process kept repeating itself to bring us to where we are today. It would have been much faster, however, if developers could get their hands on big-budget funding from the beginning, and that is what Oculus is aiming to do, with the temporary exclusive bit being a slight tweak to the formula in their favor.